El Paso, TX
Little Shack has several locations around El Paso, and every one lives up to its name of being “little.” The restaurant on Resler has about a dozen tables plus a counter. The original location on Mesa appears to be somewhat larger, although I have not gone inside to see the actual size of the dining room. The problem is that they almost always seem to be full (I think the reason they keep adding more locations is to fulfill the customer demand). The fact that it is always so full is what kept me away for so long, although tables are definitely more easy to come by if you like to eat during the non-peak times.
One time when it is not full is during Happy Hour (3 to 5 pm), and while this is not usually when I want to eat, it has worked out for me to experience a good deal at Little Shack. Also there are usually seats at the bar (a type of seating that is usually uncomfortable for me but it got me in for my initial visit to Little Shack, and I did enjoy the food as well as the conversation with the staff).
Little Shack is a Mexican seafood restaurant, and while I have limited experience with this type of restaurant, it did seem more like my experience in Matamoros than with the inland seafood restaurants I used to frequent in Ciudad Juarez. This is my way of saying that I think the food at Little Shack is the real deal. I think the selection of really fresh seafood here is limited, but what they serve is very good.
My experience at Little Shack has also been somewhat limited, but I can say that I was largely impressed with what they have. So far my meals have been the daily special and the Happy Hour specials, thus I am not sure if I have had the restaurant’s real specialties. If they have things that are even better than what I tried, though, this is a very good restaurant indeed.
Chips and Salsa
I think the chips here are among my favorites in El Paso, and this is because they are thick the way I usually find in Mexican seafood restaurants. The salsa is also the classic Mexican seafood style, namely pureed but hearty rather than thin and watery. The salsa is not as spicy as many others, but in flavor it can hold its own with any of them.
Happy Hour Specials
First I should note that the food served in Happy Hour (3 to 5 pm) is also on the regular menu, but it is just at a better price during these hours. They have a taco combo special which comes with three tacos at a special price, and they throw in an avocado and cabbage for free. I figured I could not go wrong with trying the Fish Tacos, and it turned out that they were even better than I expected. Somehow they get very fresh fish to this inland location, so the question then becomes merely what toppings you want to put on them. They bring two types of sauce–cilantro and chipotle. The one I liked best was the cilantro, but both were good.
The Adobada Taco was also very good, but is similar to ones that are served at other restaurants (while I think the fish tacos are more of a special treat).
On this taco combo I made a slightly different selection, with a fish, adobo, and campestre taco. The Campestre came with shrimp, black beans, chipotle aioli, and cheese. This was my favorite of the three on this order, although I still prefer to have a variety of tacos rather than all of them the same.
This was my first time trying Aguachiles, so I do not have a comparison of them with any other restaurants. As I understand it this is boiled shrimp with an extremely spicy red chile (you can get green if you prefer). The red onion and cucumber that come with it do not do much to quench the heat of the red chile in your mouth. It is served with crackers and lime. The spice level on this was to the point that I actually thought I would not want to order it again, although the flavor was very good (and I also might want to try it with green chile). I am not averse to extremely spicy food, but in this case I just had a little difficulty eating it.
The aguachiles was a Wednesday special, and the restaurant is good about having daily specials that I think people would actually want to order.
I tried the fresh lemonade but it was the carbonated version and it did little to quench my mouth of the hot chile from the aguachiles. The iced tea here is good and I think will be my drink of choice.
The main issue here seems to be finding a time to go when a table is available. I have passed by the restaurant many times going to other restaurants in the same shopping center and observed that it is really impossible to find empty tables at certain times such as Friday evening. The good thing about happy hour, of course, is that they do have an availability of tables in addition to the good deals you get on the food.
The fish tacos are extremely good quality, and go a long way in convincing me that you can get good seafood in El Paso. The aguachiles was very good quality as well, but just spicier than I prefer.
Cuisine: Mexican Seafood
Hours: Open Daily
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: Beer, wine
Most Recent Visit: Jan. 25, 2021
Number of Visits: 3
Best Items: Fish Tacos, Campestre Tacos, Adobada Tacos, Chips, Salsa